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Fort (Iron Age)

Site Name Aytonlaw

Classification Fort (Iron Age)

Alternative Name(s) Castle Dikes; 8 Aytonlaw Cottages; Hairy Craigs Quarry; Eye Water

Canmore ID 60251

Site Number NT96SW 6

NGR NT 91020 60870

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
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Administrative Areas

  • Council Scottish Borders, The
  • Parish Ayton
  • Former Region Borders
  • Former District Berwickshire
  • Former County Berwickshire

Archaeology Notes

NT96SW 6 NT 91020 60870

(A: NT 9102 6087; B: NT 9118 6088) Earthworks (NR)

(sites of)

(For 'B', see NT96SW 7.)

OS 6" map, (1970).

Not to be confused with cropmarks of fort at NT 9119 6088, for which see NT96SW 7.

A: Castle Dikes: A fort directly above Hairy Craigs Quarry, which has cut into it. The remains of three earthen ramparts, 46ft apart, are faintly visible.

J H Craw 1921; J K St Joseph A P's.

Situated on gently sloping ground, the fort is now represented by a shallow depressed area, with the surrounding ramparts traceable only as vague rises in generally undulating ground.

Visited by OS(JFC) 2 November 1954.

This earthwork has been almost completely ploughed out.

Although obscured by turnip shaws at the time of visit, traces of three concentric ramparts are still faintly visible in places, but are not surveyable. Sited to NT 9102 6087.

The name 'Castle Dikes' could not be confirmed.

Visited by OS(WDJ) 17 February 1966.

This fort has now been levelled by cultivation, but cropmarks reveal that there were ditches between the ramparts and a quarry-scoop immediately behind the inner rampart.

Indistinct cropmarks N of the fort may indicate the site of a ditched field system, bounded on the W by a zig-zag ditch.

(RCAHMS, flown 1976, 1977, 1978 and 1980).

RCAHMS 1980, visited 1979.

Noted as an 'enclosed settlement' by Dr St Joseph, who mentions this site among recent results of air reconnaissance.

J K St Joseph 1967.

Scheduled as '8 Aytonlaw Cottages, fort 375m W of... the remains of a multi-vallate promontory fort... visible as a cropmark on oblique aerial photographs.'

Information from Historic Scotland, scheduling document dated 30 March 2009.


Note (19 February 2016 - 30 May 2016)

This fort, the western of two (See Atlas No.4134) is situated on a gently shelving slope dropping into a promontory formed at an angle of the escarpment on the NE side of the Eye Water WSW of Aytonlaw. The defences comprised three banks drawn in an arc across the N and NE approaches when first noted by James Hewat Craw about 1920 (1921, 241-2, fig 2), but continuing cultivation has now virtually erased all trace of them. Nevertheless, cropmarks have revealed three ditches, though a comparison with the measurements recorded by Craw suggests that the innermost, which is slighter than the outer two, is perhaps no more than a quarry ditch to the rear of the inner rampart. Assuming this interpretation is correct, the triangular interior, which is bounded by the escarpment on the SW and SE, measures about 65m in depth from NE to SW by up to 90m transversely (0.35ha) within the scar of the inner rampart. This measures between 5m and 7m wide and Its accompanying external ditch is about 6m broad; at an interval of a further 4m the outer ditch is between 4m and 5m broad. Craw's third bank presumably lay on the counterscarp of the outer ditch, and but for a faint scar on the W it is otherwise undetectable in the cropmarks. No entrance causeway is visible across the defences, which must have formed a continuous belt some 28m deep, and the only feature within the interior is an irregular macula.

Information from An Atlas of Hillforts of Great Britain and Ireland – 30 May 2016. Atlas of Hillforts SC4133

Sbc Note

Visibility: This site is visible as a cropmark.

Information from Scottish Borders Council


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